The only thing holding Oklahoma Baptist back from the national tournament is the pleasure of the national ranking committee after OBU defeated a scrappy John Brown squad 67-62 in Siloam Springs, Ark., Saturday.
The win sealed the third seed for the Bison in the SAC Tournament, who should see a considerable bump in the final poll next week, which will determine the national tournament's at-large field.
OBU, six-point winners against the last-place Golden Eagles in Shawnee, had to make free throws down the stretch to top the pesky JBU team on their home floor Saturday.
"That says two things," said OBU coach Doug Tolin. "First it says a lot about John Brown, their program and their players. Second, it says an awful lot about the SAC. If they are one of the worst teams in the conference, than this is a great conference. I wish people around the country could see how these teams play in this conference."
The Bison had a nine-point lead at the half and took a 13-point advantage on a Brent Jones three-pointer with 12:26 left in the game, 48-35.
John Brown recorded an 18-7 run to climb to within 55-53 with 5:15 left in the game, scoring three times with little time left on the shot clock.
"Scoring late on the shot clock is not really their thing," said Tolin. "They like to set screens and set things up, but they made plays today in late shot clock situations throughout the game."
Jones completed a three-point play at the 2:06 mark to give the Bison a 62-57 lead to complete his scoring for the day with 25 points.
"Brent Jones was really, really good today," said Tolin. "We feel like we're in the advantage with the ball in his hands late in the shot clock."
OBU made six of its last seven free throws, including a 4-4 from Justin Williams, to preserve the win.
Joining Jones in double figures were Williams and Al Moore with 12 each.
Now 22-8 overall and 14-8 in the SAC, the Bison will play in the SAC Quarterfinals on Thursday.